Penguin Tetra

Penguin Tetra

Do you love penguin Tetra? Who doesn’t? Penguins are some of the cutest creatures on the planet.

These little guys are so adorable, and they make a great addition to any aquarium.

In this article, we will discuss the habits and care requirements of the Penguin Tetra. We will also provide tips for keeping them healthy and happy in your tank.

So if you’re looking for a new fish to add to your collection, be sure to check out the Penguin Tetra!


Scientific NameThayeria Boehlkei
OriginAmazon Basin in South America
Minimum Tank Size20 gallon
Length1.20 inches (3 cm), the maximum length can reach 2.5 in (6.3 cm)
Ease of CareEasy
pH6.0 to 8
Temperature72-82 degrees Fahrenheit
Common NamePenguin Tetra

Penguin Tetra Origins & Habitat

The Penguin Tetra (Thayeria boehlkei) is found in the Amazon River’s tributaries, backwaters, and flood plains in Peru and Brazil.

These species live in schools of fish that feed on tiny insects, worms, and crustaceans.

They prefer regions with a lot of vegetation, complex tree roots, and rich feeding grounds that protect them from bigger predatory fish species.

What Are the Features of Penguin Tetra?


The body of the Penguin Tetra is elongated and slightly compressed laterally.

It has a black stripe that starts behind the eye and extends to the base of the caudal peduncle.

The body is silvery-white in color with a translucent belly. The fins are mostly clear, with some black pigment along the leading edge.


The name of this species comes from its black-and-white coloration, which is similar to that of a penguin.

The Penguin Tetra’s body is silver in hue with a black line extending from the operculum to the tail while a thin white stripe runs along the entire leading edge of the anal fin.

Penguin Tetra Lifespan 

Penguin tetras have a lifespan of 3-5 years.

They may live even shorter lives in the wild due to predation and other environmental factors.

However, in captivity, they can often reach their entire potential life span if given proper care.

Weight & Length

It is a small fish with a maximum length of 3 inches (7.6 cm). The average weight of this species is 0.004 oz (0.11 g).

Is Penguin Tetra Hardy?

Penguin Tetra is an easy fish to care for.

It is not demanding, can live in a wide range of water conditions, and is not easily stressed. This makes it an ideal fish for beginners.

Penguin Tetra Availability

These species are the go-to solution for any beginner who wants to get into the hobby of fish keeping.

They’re cheap to buy and replace and widely available from most fish merchants.

How to Care for Penguin Tetra?

1. Tank Size

Many individuals believe that caring for tiny tank Tetras is simple, yet this is not the case; rather, it will be much easier to care for your fish if you have a larger aquarium.

In the case of penguin tetras, a 10 to 15-gallon tank is ideal for a school of them.

2. Temperature

The ideal temperature for these fish is 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

When things aren’t perfect, these fish become intolerant of fluctuations in water temperature and may become weakened and prone to disease.

So, a good heater will assist Penguin Tetras to keep the water at the correct temperature.

3. PH Level

Penguin tetras can tolerate a wide range of water hardness, but they prefer neutral to slightly alkaline water, with a pH of 6.0 to 8.0.

4. Lighting

Penguin tetras typically live in water with little to no light in the wild. So, diffused lighting is ideal for penguin tetras as it creates a more natural environment and helps the fish feel safe.

5. Filters

The Penguin Tetra is sensitive to ammonia and nitrogen in the water, so a well-filtered system is essential.

A single filter suitable for your aquarium is sufficient to maintain a light water flow and acceptable oxygen levels. Underground filtration systems are ideal for this purpose. 

6. Tank Decoration

When designing a penguin aquarium, you should aim to maintain as close to the tetra’s natural habitat as possible.

That entails, maintaining a densely planted aquarium with low to moderate illumination is essential.

Use smooth river rocks, small stones, and driftwood roots with a dark and sandy substrate to make your tetra’s colors pop.

You can also add some dried catappa leaves to the substrate. Also, to break up direct light, add some floating plants.

By replicating the penguin tetra’s natural habitat, you’ll provide them with a comfortable and stress-free environment.

Penguin Tetra Diet

Penguin tetras are not picky eaters, but they have some specific dietary needs that should be met.

They are micro predators and, in the wild, will consume crustaceans, insects, larvae, and worms.

In captivity, they eat prepared fish food, freeze-dried, and live foods like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and tubifex.

However, they need a high protein diet to support their active lifestyle. A good quality flake or pellet food will provide the necessary protein, but supplementing with live or frozen foods will help them get the most out of their diet.

Penguin Tetra Compatibility

Penguin Tetras are peaceful and social fish, making them an excellent choice for community tanks.

They are compatible with most other small to medium-sized fish, as long as there are no aggressive bullies in the tank that could harass or harm them.

Penguin Tetra can be kept with the following fish:

  • Hemigrammus Tetras
  • Hyphessobrycon Tetras
  • Pencil Fish
  • Apistogramma
  • Small Cichlids
  • Corydoras 
  • Loricariids
  • Smaller Rasboras
  • Smaller Barbs

Penguin Tetra can’t be kept with the following fish:

  • Angelfish
  • Guppies
  • Siamese Fighting Fish
  • Long-Finned Fish
  • Aggressive Fish
  • Spirited Fish

Is Penguin Tetra Reef Safe?

The short answer is yes, penguin tetras are reef safe, and they are not known to nip at corals or bother other tank inhabitants.

They are generally peaceful fish that get along well with other community fish.

If you are thinking about adding penguin tetras to your reef tank, there are a few things to consider.

First, penguin tetras need to be kept in at least six fish groups. This will help reduce aggression and ensure each fish has a buddy to swim with.

Second, penguin tetras prefer to live in well-planted tanks with plenty of hiding places. They are not fans of open water and may become stressed if they don’t have somewhere to hide.

Finally, penguin tetras are sensitive to water conditions, and they need clean water with a neutral pH and moderate hardness.

Overall, penguin tetras are a great addition to any reef tank. They are beautiful fish that are relatively easy to care for.

Just be sure to provide them with the proper tank conditions, and they will thrive in your aquarium.

Penguin Tetra Gender Difference

Although male and female penguin tetras have slightly different body shapes, few significant distinctions exist between them.

The Penguin Tetra female is bigger and stockier than the male, and this difference becomes most obvious when the fish are preparing to breed.

During breeding, the female’s belly will become extremely round and prominent.

Penguin Tetra Breeding

If you want to breed penguin tetras, you’ll need a distinct spawning tank. Then make the breeding tank’s water soft acidic.

Like most egg scatterers, the parents are known to consume the eggs and fry.

As a result, you’ll want to use a mesh liner that allows the eggs to fall through but prevents the parents from reaching them.

You’ll also have a lot of eggs on hand. Female penguin tetras can produce up to 1000 eggs every cycle.

After the eggs hatch, you must remove the parents from the tank, or they will consume the fry.

The fry will hatch in approximately 24-36 hours and free-swim a few days later. They are tiny and need special foods to survive. You’ll need to purchase special foods designed for fry, or you can make your own by grinding up flake food into powder.

Possible Diseases and Prevention

Penguin tetras are at risk for the usual fish diseases, like Ich (also called Ick) and gill and skin flukes.

Ich is a highly contagious parasitic infection noticeable by the white spots that will appear on your fish.

If you notice your penguin tetra has Ich, it is important to treat it promptly as the disease can be fatal.

You should quarantine the affected fish and administer an over-the-counter medication for Ich.

Gill and skin flukes are another possible disease for penguin tetras.

These parasites attach to the gills or skin of the fish and cause irritation and inflammation.

If you notice your penguin tetra scratching or rubbing on objects in the tank, it may be a sign of gill or skin flukes.

To treat gill and skin flukes, you should administer a medication specifically for these parasites.

Penguin tetras are relatively hardy fish, but it is essential to be aware of the possible diseases they can contract.

By taking preventive measures and knowing the signs of disease, you can help ensure your penguin tetra remains healthy and happy.

Last Words

The penguin tetra is a popular aquarium fish due to its attractive coloration and relatively peaceful nature.

We hope you have enjoyed this article as much as we did.

If you still have any questions, please share them with us in the comment section below.